Blog Archives

Something More: Kill la Cross, Madoka’s Universal Church, and Sailor Moon Mythology

Welcome to the first of our more sporadic version of Something More.  The blogosphere has been resplendent in it’s spiritual-related articles the last couple of week, regarding anime series both current and classic.

Christian symbolism runs rampant in Kill la Kill, as do opportunities to discuss Christian themes and ideas, particularly as they relate to clothing, in the series. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

The Spice and Wolf light novels paint God as malicious, but does this really to his true character? [Medieval Otaku]

Christianity plays a role, at least superficially, in countless anime series, as Eugene Woodbury states:

At the same time, in terms of theology, the suggestively Catholic Haibane Renmei can stand beside any of C.S. Lewis’s work as a powerful Christian parable. The same is true of anime such as Madoka Magica and Scrapped Princess, though you may have to look harder to see through the metaphors.

But he also goes on to suggest that the Japanese view toward the faith may rather reveal a positive view for many of the country’s feelings toward religion as compared to western ones. [Eugene’s Blog]

Speaking of Madoka, Woodbury recently explained that the series is “an exploration of the doctrine of universal reconciliation.” [2]

Is Mushi-shi a fatalistic series? Perhaps quite the contrary… [Organizational ASG]

To the tune of Christian themes, there’s more to A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd than meets the eye. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Sailor Moon draws more than merely character names from Greco-Roman mythology. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

And continuing with Sailor Moon, episode 14 of Sailor Moon Crystal emphasizes the power of prayer…even if it is to the Crystal Tower. [Geeks Under Grace]

The dividing of the girls in episode 5 of KanColle brings to mind the discomfort the early Christians must have felt as they started their mission. [2]

As part of the Something More series of posts, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK to be included.

Five Reasons to Give up Anime for Lent

Today marks to beginning of the Lenten Season.  Although I’m not Catholic, and have never observed the tradition of giving up a vice or practice for Lent, I certainly understand that this custom holds significance for many (Medieval Otaku, one of our newest writers, could certainly tell you more).  There’s also an increasing trend of Protestants practicing this custom, including a number of college folks at my own church.  And on social media, a quick search reveals the idea of many perhaps giving up anime for Lent.

lent 2

Although mostly tongue in cheek, I would be surprised if many Christians weren’t sincerely thinking of doing so, especially in light of how common media and social media fasts have become.  And although we aren’t separatist in our beliefs here, instead really focusing on all the good there is to be seen in anime, both on a surface level and on a deeper, thematic level, there could be very good reason to dump anime for the next 40 days.  Here are five reasons why you might consider doing so:

1. You Feel Convicted To

Sometimes we’re compelled to take action on things in our life, often without strong rhyme or reason.  It could certainly be that the voice you’re hearing isn’t a simple back and forth in your head, but rather the Holy Spirit convicting you to do something.  Or perhaps a trusted peer had suggested to you that it might be a good idea to let anime go until Easter. Although prayer discernment is always recommended, conviction certainly plays a role in a Christian’s decision-making. Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Junketsu No Maria and the Church…Oh Boy…

One of the more interesting series this season is Junketsu no Maria, which I became aware of through my friend Alexander, of Ashita no Anime.  The first group of links below discuss the series’ tone toward Catholicism and the Catholic Church, and join another gaggle of terrific posts about religion from anibloggers this week.

Junketsu no Maria is stirring a lot of discussion, particularly as it relates to its anti-Catholic tone. [Mage in a Barrel]

Draggle, on the other hand, sees it a bit differently. [Draggle’s Anime Blog]

The series also brings to brings this thought to the forefront – why does God let evil and pain exist? [Joeschmo’s Gears and Grounds]

Though E Minor doubts whether this series will bring any depth regarding religious discussion at all. [Moe Sucks]

Kuroshitsuji demonstrates an interesting biblical idea – that through faith, man can “defeat” demons. [Old Line Elephant]

Sensuality, food…and God? Koufuku Graffiti brings these threads together surprisingly well. [A Series of Miracles]

Assassination Classroom is part of anime’s declaration that teacher are so very important, an idea which the Bible also emphasizes. [A Series of Miracles]

Shingeki no Bahamut does many things well, including demonstrating the four kinds of love, as given by C.S. Lewis. [Medieval Otaku]

Casey Covel gives Bleach a middling review, and provides in-depth analysis for Christians as they approach the series. [Geeks Under Grace]

In somewhat of a story-like manner, Tofugu continues his chronicle of the history of Christianity in Japan. [Tofugu]

As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included

 

Something More: Less Game More Life, Ranma Devalues Akane, and Good Samaritan Art Online

This week was full of great articles about spirituality – many, as usual, about Christianity, but note the first link below, from academic and frequent convention panelist, Charles Dunbar, which focuses on Shinto and Buddhist traditions.

Charles Dunbar investigates A Letter to Momo and discusses the spiritual idea of our loved ones watching over us after death. [Study of Anime]

Frank sees Seishuu’s actions and thoughts as an example of pride, humility, and fear in episodes three and four of Barakamon. [A Series of Miracles]

Michael looks at No Game, No Life and takes a Christian perspective with gaming addiction. [Gaming and God]

He also examines the idea of doing ministry at conventions. [2]

Annalyn digs into Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet and the reason why human life is valuable. [Annalyn’s Thoughts]

She also looks specifically at the beauty of women in her essay on Akane from Ranma 1/2. [2]

Rob continues is Christian-centered anime reviews, looking at the idea of forgiveness in Sword Art Online II, episode four. [Christian Anime Review]

He also draws a really neat parallel to the Christian idea of helping others in episode four of SAO II. [2]

Medieval Otaku digs into the complex question of the morality of Kisara’s vengeance in Black Bullet. [Medieval Otaku]

And finally, Josh presents a little baptismal humor involving Sailor Moon. [Res Studiorum et Ludorum]

As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included.  Thanks this week to Don for pointing me toward Josh’s post!

Something More: Butt Attack Punisher Christian Magical Girl

Spiritual-related posts have been sparse the last few weeks, and it’s the same for this one as well, but I do have a few interesting articles to link you to.

D.M. Dutcher laments the lack of entertainment written for Christians, though he saw a glimpse of what might have been in a few scenes of Butt Attack Punisher Girl Gautaman. That was before it all went downhill.  Here’s his description of that OVA’s plot [Cacao, put down the shovel!]:

Mari is a Christian who is about to attend the Perfect Religion Academy, a place where the religious members of tomorrow are trained. She befriends Saori, a Hindu girl who becomes her roomate. Unfortunately she gets kidnapped by the evil Black Buddha cult, and there’s only one way she can get her back.

As she prays for help, none other than Buddha appears. He gives her a sacred sumo belt that turns her into said Gautaman. Now she has to use her butt to defeat the evil Black Buddha cult, the members of which include an evil newspaper deliveryman, a sumo wrestler wearing a Darth Vader mask, six very ugly freshmen, a panty-exposing samurai, and more…

Rob’s compares the love of Livius and Nike have for each other in The World is Still Beautiful to that of Jesus for us, illustrating it with the parable of the lost sheep. [Christian Anime Review]

As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

Something More: Anime Nuns, Childish Religion, and Bye, Bye, Brynhildr

Stinekey explores the depiction of nuns in geek culture. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

Lazarinth breaks away from his usual aniblogging to comment on why he feels religion is childish. [Fantasy and Anime]

Rob’s latest Christian-centric reviews includes those for recent episodes of Brynhidlr in the Darkness [1] (which he has decided to drop) and One Week Friends [2]. [Christian Anime Review]

As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

Something More: Buddhist x Buddhist, Noragami Catholicism, and Manga in a Buddhist Temple

Our site is of course focused on finding Christian allusions and themes in anime, and oftentimes this article finds the same in other sites doing the same kind of work.  And so I’m glad that this week’s links provide a little more diversity when it comes to spiritual conversation and anime:

Annalyn explores Buddhist and other religious allusions in recent episodes of Hunter x Hunter. [Annalyn’s Thoughts]

An exhibition of Buddhist art by manga artists is on display at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo’s Minato Ward. [The Asahi Shimbun]

Medieval Otaku reposted an article from March in which iblessall outlines a Catholic viewing of Noragami. [Life, and Anime]

Rob continues his Christian-centric reviews, digging this week into Brynhildr in the Darkness [Christian Anime Review], The World Is Still Beautiful [2], and One Week Friends [3].

As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

 

 

Guest Post – Contra Divitias: Kill la Kill’s Opprobrium of Wealth

Medieval Otaku is run by a bookworm inflamed with a desire for learning and for God.  The study of foreign cultures, literature, and history eventually led to him discovering anime, which hooked him with the remarkable richness and beauty of its stories and is likely to remain a strong hobby of his for decades to come.

Japes has already written a great article using Kill la Kill which dealt with whether money is the root of all evil. My own article will concentrate instead on how Kill la Kill shows that the mere possession of wealth often produces evil effects in the soul. Read Japes’s article, but ignore his opinion that Kill la Kill is “an amalgam of mediocrity.” Quelle opinion! When one sees all the rich and interesting blog posts driven off of this show, it hardly deserves the name mediocre! Call Kill la Kill frenetic, lewd, vulgar, perverse, ridiculous, or absurd. Say that it borrows and employs its ideas in a maladroit fashion. Call it bad if you want: Chrome Shelled Regios is mediocre, not Kill la Kill!

ryuto matoi

In any event, Kill la Kill’s main beef with wealth revolves around the fact that it produces isolation and pride. The Kiryuin family suffers from these two ills most acutely. Even the flashback to the beginning of Ragyo Kiryuin and Isshin Matoi’s early life together shows a lack of unity between the two. The two come together only for the sake of Ragyo profiting from his scientific ability and for the purpose of reproduction. (For the record, I do not know how any man could summon enough ardor to produce offspring with Ragyo.) Besides Ragyo’s lack of unity with her husband, she completely fails to notice that her own child conceives a murderous hatred for her!

satsuke kuryuin

Basically, each member of the family lives concerned only with their own things, except for Isshin and Ryuko Matoi who escape from the grip of both Ragyo and wealth. When Ragyo’s existence is first made known to us, the fact that Satsuki even has a mother comes as a surprise to the audience—Satsuki cares so little for her after all! On the Kiryuin side, all their relationships are those of utility rather than enjoyment; though, we now know that Satsuki truly loved her henchmen but needed to keep up the appearance of merely thinking of them as useful.

KLK

Contrast this to Mako’s family. Lacking wealth and the many diversions offered by its possession, they are all on intimate terms with one another. The force of intimacy is so strong that Ryuko even becomes absorbed into the family circle when she joins their household. Even the family’s strange enthusiasm for mystery meat and peeping Tom ways prove to be no barrier in forming these relationships.

Kill la kill family

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Catholicism in Noragami, Wolf Children of God, and Bye, Bye, Animekritik!

D.M. Dutcher reviews Wolf Children and finds a parallel to the idea of Christians being “in the world, but not of it.” [Speculative Faith]

Rob continues his Christian reviews, closing out series like Golden Time [1] and Nobunagun [2], while reviewing new shows like Captain Earth [3].

Medieval Otaku gives his thoughts on Witch Craft Works and Noragami, including some Catholic connections in each. [Medieval Otaku]

Additionally, Medieval Otaku, who has guested here and whom we frequently feature in this column, is celebrating the two-year anniversary of his blog.  Go congratulate him! [Medieval Otaku]

Unfortunately, on the other end of the spectrum, animekritik is closing his blog [Kritik der Animationskraft].

We’ve included links to a number of his excellent articles in the past – including some of the following favorites:

(Real) Christianity in Anime

Japes, our Anime Today columnist, has written a number of articles about the intersection of Christianity and anime for his other blog, Japesland.  He is editing and resposting a number of these entries, including the one below, to Beneath the Tangles.

Several days ago I wrote a piece that I titled “(Superficial) Christianity in Anime“, but I realized after reading over it again that I seemed to come off with a rather negative view of Christian themes in anime. Now while I do believe the majority of depictions of Christianity in anime to be overall inaccurate, and even offensive (although when taken as a work of fiction and/or fantasy, I believe it to be less so), I felt that it was worth pointing of the positives that can be found in the medium. Now the title I’ve given to this post may prove to be somewhat misleading, as depictions of “Christianity” as it is often defined are not my focus, but rather depictions of spirituality (and even theology in a broader sense).

I would like to begin with some of the more obvious and move into the more subtle as we move along this (brief) post.

Rakka and RekiIf you read the aforementioned piece, then you are probably familiar with my positive take on the anime series, Haibane Renmei. Haibane Renmei is an amazing example of an anime that contains a number of Christian themes throughout it if one takes the time to analyze it. Disregarding the cherubic appearance of the haibane and instead focusing on the content of the story and dialogue, not only is a Christian faced with dealing with modern issues in Christian culture (something I find to be of less overall significance, but they are present nonetheless) such as the accepting church, but also the core doctrine of Christianity itself. “The circle of sin”, as The Communicator would say. The Haibane are trapped in their sinful states because they have done something wrong. When they accept this wrong (read: “sin”), they are inherently sinful, but when they declare themselves sinless, they are doing nothing but perpetuating the circle by sinning further. The only escape for this is to be forgiven by an external force.

SPOILERS

Read the rest of this entry

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